Daily Archives: April 16, 2007

Unwrapping My Wii

After two months of sitting in its shrink wrap in my office at work, my new Nintendo Wii finally came home.

I decided that we were sufficiently settled in our new home to think about adding something new to our daily mix.

While my wife was off boxing up the last bits of our junk for one final moving push, my daughter and I set about getting the Wii hooked up.

I think it is a sign of adulthood that I was able to leave the Wii box alone for two months without even opening it up just to peek.  My daughter, on the other hand, has been asking about that box since my wife gave it to me on Valentine’s Day.  She wasn’t even sure what it was, just that it was something fun and hooked up to the television.

All in all the system was very easy to set up.  The unit itself is very small and fit very nicely into our TV stand, sharing space with our DVR and DVD player.  I was a bit disappointed that it only came with a cable for composite video, but since I still need to work out how to fully integrate the Wii into our family room TV setup, composite proved the easiest path to deal with as the TV itself has multiple inputs for composite. (Our TV is 10 years old.  I’m probably lucky it has that!)

Once the Wii was plugged into the TV I set up the sensor bar.  This is what actually receives input from the Wii remote. (Nintendo does not, as far as I can tell, officially call its wireless controller a “Wii-mote,” showing good sense in knowing how far to push the whole Wii-cuteness thing.)  Fortunately the sensor bar is small and very thin, so it fit on the lip of our stand right below the TV screen.

Once the sensor bar was in place it was just a matter of putting batteries in the Wii remote, powering up, putting in Wii sports, and cutting loose.

Everything worked just fine right out of the box.

For exactly ten minutes.

Then the Wii remote stopped working.

Oh, the classic parental situation.  Something new and cool in the house.  We’ve had just enough time with it to want to play more and more.  And then, suddenly, it stops working.

“Daddy, I want to play some more!”

Oh my.

I pulled the batteries out of the remote and put them back in.  I power cycled the Wii.  I went through the trouble shooting guide, both in the manual and online.  No matter what I did, the four little blue LEDs at the bottom of the remote just blinked while the Wii itself failed to recognize or respond to my inputs.

I had to call tech support at Nintendo.

Fortunately the wait on hold was reasonable.  I spoke with a very friendly representative who walked me through trouble shooting.  First we did all the things that I had already done. (I did not object.  I worked in support for a bit. I know you can never trust that the customer has done everything they say they have done.)  Then we got to a step that I had not done, which involved actually pulling the plug on the Wii and letting it cold boot. (I should have thought of that.)

That seemed to do the trick.  The Wii was responding to the remote again!  My daughter could play Wii Boxing yet again!

While she occupied herself with that (as a frenetic five year old, she is astonishingly better than I am at Wii Boxing), I went and did some digging on the net about Wii issues.  It seems that I was not alone in having experienced this issue and that the general recommendation was to setup your Wii to get updates over the net as the problem had been resolved somewhere along the way.

About the time I found that, the Wii had stopped responding to the remote again.

Another cold boot and I went in to configure the unit with our wireless network.  Part of the on-screen information you can get about your Wii is its MAC address.  Since my home wireless network is setup to do MAC address filtering, that was handy.  I jotted down the MAC address, put it on the allowed list for my router, and turned SSID on temporarily so that the Wii could find our network.  Aside from the fact I made a typo when entering the MAC address, everything was fine and the Wii was on the internet.

I then had it go download updates.  That failed the first time, but succeeded on retry.

After the update, everything went well.  There were no further episodes of the Wii not responding to the remote.

My daughter and I played Wii sports for quite a while after that.  Our initial impression is a big thumbs up for the Nintendo Wii